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Lakers star Anthony Davis says he will make his return from a nine-week absence on Thursday versus the Dallas Mavericks, so long as his right leg responds well to Wednesday’s practice.
Davis said he now feels “100 percent” healthy from the calf strain and tendinosis in his right leg but detailed the scary moments after the injury occurred.
“I never tore an Achilles, but I kind of felt like sharp pain, like it was ripping, which I had never felt before,” Davis said. “… So I knew it was something serious. It wasn’t as serious as it could have been, but it was still a pretty significant injury.”
Prior to undergoing an MRI, which confirmed the tendinosis he was already playing with and revealed a calf strain, the 28-year-old Davis feared the diagnosis and wondered if the Lakers’ bid for a championship repeat would have to go on without him.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel stated Davis will start versus the Mavericks and that his playing time will be limited to the 15-minute range for the first two games he plays.
The restriction will be gradually released from there, Vogel said, in consultation with Davis and the team medical staff.
L.A. has gone 14-16 since Davis went out on Feb. 14, falling from No. 2 to No. 5 in the Western Conference standings. The Lakers are 2½ games in back of the fourth-place Denver Nuggets with 14 games left in the regular season.
“It’s going to be my job to try to help the team stay afloat until he comes back as well and stay fighting,” said Davis, who is averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds in 23 games. “But this team has done more than we can ask for.”
Vogel said that playing through Davis for a period of time with James still on the mend could help L.A. avoid in-game regression when the four-time MVP sits to rest.
While the Lakers wait on James, Davis will get his first opportunity to play with L.A.’s other AD — Andre Drummond — for the first time since the big man was picked up off the buyout market.